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Saturday, January 30, 2010

So many cans of worms. Worms with fangs.

Unpleasantvile: The Vampire Diaries, episode 12.


I am including this text here because I haven't figured out another way to ensure that spoilery things don't get shown to those who'd rather not see them. I'm working on it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday morning commute mix

The 6 o'clock alarm always sucks for me - I am not wired for that time of day. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps me from assuming the fetal position on the train is a well-chosen playlist. This morning, I put the Flavor of the Week playlist on shuffle, and my iPhone made the magic happen for me.

Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
California on My Mind - Wild Light
Maybe Tonight - Nicole Atkins
Nothing Left to Lose - Mat Kearney
Turpentine - Brandi Carlile
I'm an Animal - Neko Case
In a Cave - Tokyo Police Club
I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues - Elton John
There is a Light The Never Goes Out - The Smiths
Oxford Comma - Vampire Weekend
Help, I'm Alive - Metric
Off Track - The Features
Like a Feather - Nikka Costa
The Walk - Imogen Heap

Not a list that everyone would enjoy, but it was just right for me this morning!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


So, our building was renovated a year or so ago. They took out the offices on our floor and made it a field of cubicles. Really expensive cubicles, with desk lamps that cost hundreds of dollars. Each.
Last week, we got an email saying that the appliances in the kitchen weren’t working, and that a solution was on the way. From what I can tell, this was the solution:

Um, okay.

So, today, we started to hear this crazy noise. It was like a loud, wind-howlish noise. It sounded a little like a plane or a spaceship taking off in a movie. Or like someone was about to get sucked out said ship - a coworker described it as “this crazy, ghostly, spaceship sound,” which is pretty apt.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Just Sayin': Your Pants Are Ridiculous, Sir

This guy on the Muni was having a little trouble walking - I heard him stumbling before he walked past, and looked up to see what was going on. I don't know that this picture really does the problem justice - they were ginormous and, not surprisingly, falling off. I wanted to suggest to him that he go about 5 sizes down.

Or at least wear a belt.

On "The Road"

Spoilerific! And this post is mostly an experiment (figuring out how to make pages, etc)

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice."

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" (From the "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered August 28, 1963)

The title quote from the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, delivered April 3rd, 1968.

TiVoLiveblogging the Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais' Monologue: Heh heh – “Let’s get on with it before NBC replace me with Jay Leno.” :)

:08 – Ugh. Mo’nique done made me cry already.

:17 – Mavis, huh? Old school!

:17 – I’m confused. Why is Jim Parsons kind of hot?

:19 – Is Michael C Hall in chemo? If not, he needs to take that hat off. If so, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

:21 – HAH! “But animation is not just for children. It is also for adults who take drugs.” (Paul McCartney)

Battlestar Galactica: the addiction begins.


Watched the opening miniseries of Battlestar Galactica with R. and J. Wrote a blog about it - like to hear it? Here it go!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm kind of loving this.

You know, I've never really watched Jimmy Kimmel's show. I might have to start.

PS - Please bear with me as I learn how to get the pretty pictures and such to work properly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Notes from Thursday

The vein on this guy's forehead was scaring me.

I'm not sure what city this woman was dressed for, but it wasn't San Francisco. At least not this week - maybe in July!

My aching, but fabulously stripey feet.

Reason I love my friends # 695: One of them just called and said, "It's the last night New Moon is playing in San Francisco and I haven't seen it yet. So you'll come see it with me right now, right?" Yes. Yes I will.

That is all.

Chicken and waffles and OH MY GOD, HE SAW YOU!!

Spent a lovely evening with my good friend M. and her husband, K. At M's suggestion, we tried our collective hand at chicken and waffles. I'd only had it once before, at the faux Roscoes's that used to be in Oakland - it seemed like a weird idea to me, but people said I should try it. It was good, though I remember being more excited about the greens that night. I also remember that there was a mouse, which I was not at all excited about.

Tonight's chicken and waffles were a totally homemade affair - M. cooked up fabulous waffles and I fried chicken. I even did the crazy buttermilk thing this time. It all came out very well, if I do say so myself :) I think it's safe to say that we ate the hell out of that chicken. I forgot to take pictures of the before, but there's proof of the carnage.

For the movie part of our evening, we watched Hitchcock's "Rear Window." I've written a review, so will just say here that it was SO VERY STRESSFUL (the mark of a good thriller) and I'm glad I finally saw it.

In other news, someone (not me) might have finally bitten off more than he can chew. More on that anon. I'm off now to get not enough sleep before a long day tomorrow. By which I mean today. Yeesh.

PS - Here is a very funny note that K. wrote to M. Or, should I say that M. found this note and, while K. is the prime suspect, the signature is not his.

Love it :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm Just Sayin': On "Romantic" "Comedies"

Hollywood is making it harder and harder for me to enjoy romantic comedies.

The fact that they are, quite often, bad movies is only a minor problem for me - I like a lot of bad movies (see: my eager anticipation of the new "Clash of the Titans"), so that's hardly the issue. Romantic comedies often deal heavily in frustrating gender stereotypes, but even that hasn't been able to kill the pleasure for me. Dampen, perhaps, but not kill. Now, don't get me wrong: just like with other movies, some romantic comedies look too terrible to be enjoyable, even in a bad movie way (see: All About Steve, just about anything with Matthew McConaughey in the trailer). I'm just saying that the suspect dialogue and plots held loosely together with clichés are not, sadly enough, what threaten to drive me away from the genre altogether. My enjoyment of romantic comedies usually comes down to some intangible combination of charm and relatability: take those away, and you're left with a bunch of substandard movies full of unsympathetic characters.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Take Sally Albright and Bridget Jones. Both are caricatures, to be sure, but there is something recognizable in them. Sally is particular about how she takes her pie, but she is also caring and self-sufficient. Bridget manages to embarrass herself several times, but she's also a supportive friend and daughter. They are caricatures of real, flawed women. They are, more importantly, endearingly exaggerated, and both the films they anchor and the men they share their stories with show a real affection for them. They are lovable women, which is part of why it's so satisfying to see their respective partners come to love them.

Just as important is the fact that the men they come to love and be loved by are, in fact, lovable. Mark Darcy, like Fitzwilliam before him, may initially *seem* like a real jerk, but the whole point is that this isn't really true. Fitzwilliam is not an asshole; he just feels ill-qualified to recommend himself to strangers. Mark also has some serious social issues, but has the decency to apologize for his initial insensitivity and never treats Bridget poorly again. This is, we presume, because he loves her. And "just as she is," to boot.

Harry, for his part, may take a while to come to his senses, but he does come to them, and in recognizing how important his friendship with Sally is, he becomes the man Sally has been looking for - even when she didn't know it - in the best possible way.

Clichéd? Certainly. But also romantic, and at least partially because I can recognize parts of real women - maybe even myself - in Sally and Bridget. They're exaggerated, but never in a mean-spirited way. And just as I can see bits of the woman I actually am, and others I actually know, I see aspects of the man I want in my life in Harry and the Darcys. These men, who you know from the beginning they're going to end up with, are flawed, but they're not cruel. And when they get it wrong, they come to realize what a mistake they've made, and have the decency to feel sorry for it. They make the heroines feel truly loved, and that's why we watch.

Why, I now wonder, did filmmakers expect me to watch Leap Year? Amy Adams's Anna is the caricature that 1/2 of all romantic comedy heroines have become - demanding, materialistic, and not fond of surprises (read: control freak). That she is dating someone who seems (at least at first) perfectly nice but distant and boring comes as no surprise. He looks great on paper, which we know because he's a cardiologist. He turns out, of course, not to be such a catch. His shift at the end - both the reason behind his proposal and the obliviously callous way in which he reveals it - seems unfair, to be honest, to the character he seemed to be until that point. Not surprising, but handled poorly.

These things on their own might not be so problematic. The bigger problem, for me, is that for the majority of the movie, Anna is not presented as someone particularly loveable. She is beautiful, and we think at the start that her cardiologist cares for her. But she's also shrill, rude, oblivious, and entitled. Perhaps this is why the filmmakers thought the abuse heaped on her for the majority of the movie would be funny. I was not amused, though. I didn't feel like she'd gotten what she deserved when Declan watched as her suitcase was stolen, and I certainly didn't think it was cute when her later confrontation with the 3 male thieves turned, almost immediately, to the image of three men leering and using their physical presence to intimidate a woman whose lacy unmentionables they'd removed from her suitcase and tossed around. Declan's coming to her rescue here is one of the reasons I didn't hate the movie altogether, but even this doesn't change the fact that, while Anna does little to recommend herself, we have little reason to want her to. For much of the movie, Declan's rudeness falls short of roguishly charming because he is so very unkind. And there is never any sense that he's sorry for his early mistreatment of Anna, only that he loves her by the end. He says, at least, that he loves her; we never really see him making her feel loved.

I'm all for the guilty pleasure of the genre, but without the pleasure, why bother? For reference, here's what I said about Leap Year in my movie review roundup:

Leap Year**

Plotwise, Leap Year is one of the better romantic comedies I've seen lately (faint praise, I know). Matthew Goode is attractive and perfectly capable of charming, and Amy Adams' hair looks fabulous. All of this makes it even more unfortunate that the movie so clearly hates women. That's a strong statement, I know. And, I doubt that the filmmakers realize that they hate women. But here's what I consider the strongest example. Anna gets humiliated repeatedly, culminating in the alarm scene (a nice touch, to be honest). In the end, she goes back to Ireland, gives a speech that makes it clear that, in her eyes, the solution is to be someone totally different than she has been, and proposes to Declan in his now-crowded gastro-pub. And he, without saying a word, turns and walks away. Yes, we know he's going to get the ring, which is sweet. But, he also humiliates her in front of a room full of people. More than that, he is completely unapologetic about it. That's neither romantic nor comedic.

Leap Year is not the worst romantic comedy I've seen lately (that would be The Ugly Truth), but it may be the most insidiously misogynistic, and the fact that it passes for a romantic comedy is troubling. This is not to say that there are no sweet or funny moments in the movie. There are. But they are not, in my opinion, enough to balance out the rest of it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Better living through more effectual freaking out

2010 is a rebuilding year for me. Lots of things are broken, or not far from it, and the no-longer-quite-so-new year seems like as good an excuse as any to renew my resolve to start addressing that fact with something more than denial and ineffectual freaking out. Not that denial isn't fun, but it's nice to switch things up now and again. And, while dealing with reality does, quite often, bring the freak out, it's generally less fun than denial. If it's not going to be fun, it should at least be useful, right? So, for the new year: minimal denial and only effectual freaking out.

What's that you say? Yes, yes - I understand that some people manage to accomplish things without freaking out at all. Yes, I *have* tried it. Yeah, it's great, but-- LISTEN! I AM NOT THOSE PEOPLE, OK?!


Where was I? Ah, yes. The new year is off to a great start, thanks to the first of my Effectual Freakouts. The initial freakout actually happened last year, but I didn't take any action on it until now. It went something like this:

Reality (early 2009): Well, you've really made a mess of your finances. Time to focus on paying down those balances. Well past time, in fact. *sigh* IF I pay this much for this long...

Denial (in intermittent bursts throughout the year): Oooh, cute shoes...I've been wanting that CD...But, I've got to eat, right? And I'll order something cheap...Must.Have.Coffee...It's not for me...OMG, True Blood!...Well, it *is* on sale...

Reality (also in intermittent bursts) + Ineffectual Freakout: It's on sale, and I still can't afford it. I don't have any money and I'm all out of credit. Holy shit, I don't have any money and I'm all out of credit! How the hell am I out of credit?! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH CREDIT THAT WAS?! That's it - no more retail therapy. I'm going to exercise discipline and...yeah, that'll never work. Maybe I'll check out those debt management programs. Yeah, that's it - I'll check out those debt management programs.

Action (late-ish 2009): DMP checked into - yay, me! I can't do it until after my conference, but it's nice to have a plan.

Reality + denial: Ok, ok - I can't do it until after my conference. So, I might as well wait until the beginning of the year. I mean, I might need my credit cards over Christmas. And I need a few things for work. And I do still have those store cards. A little more wouldn't hurt...

Reality + Effectual Freakout: Jesus, Apollo, and Thor - what is wrong with me?! Wait - don't answer that! Baby steps...OK! If I call them right now I can sign up for the program!

Action: *Spends two whole days doing and redoing budget for the year. Then spends what feels like hours on the phone, closing out accounts.*

Ineffectual Freakout + Denial + Reality: *Has total crisis because have had these credit cards longer than have ever dated anyone and--* Maybe I could just keep the one card...for emergencies? And it's better for my credit rating if I can keep one open, right? Right?! Oh, God. This is going to suck. And, I'm never going to be able to live by myself. I want to move! How am I ever going to be able to move?!

7. Reality + Effectual Freakout: Shut UP! You can't keep the one card because you have to close that OTHER card from them. And, you can't move anyway because you spent all your money! You're screwed!!! The best you can do is put the plan in motion and suck it up!

So, the plan is in motion. Which frees me up to freak out about all sorts of other things! Next up: health. No, dating! No, no - career--